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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 06:15 AM   #16
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

The Christianity thing brings up a subject I've always wondered about, in regards to the relationship between Christianity and the black (especially African-American) community. This could actually apply to black people and Islam, too. Do the deeply religious (Christian or Islam) black people not feel any sort of conflict between these two identities? I mean, Muslims enslaved them, Christians enslaved them. Christians even used Christianity as a basis for the enslavement. Then furthermore, just my own thoughts on this as someone raised in a Christian community, if a black Christian takes the fundamental belief that you have to have Jesus to go to Heaven, and pairs it with the good assumption that Christianity might never have taken hold in Africa without colonization, then, logically does it hold that colonization and possibly even slavery had benefits of bringing Christianity to Africa? Does this benefit of leading these people to Christ outweight the costs, then? This is way, way off topic I know, but this is just something I've always been curious about but I've never been sure how to properly phrase my question. To me there just seems to be a conflict that needs to be resolved (and possibly already has been resolved) between being West or East African and being a fervent follower of Christianity or Islam.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 06:25 AM   #17
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by dybbuk View Post
The Christianity thing brings up a subject I've always wondered about, in regards to the relationship between Christianity and the black (especially African-American) community. This could actually apply to black people and Islam, too. Do the deeply religious (Christian or Islam) black people not feel any sort of conflict between these two identities? I mean, Muslims enslaved them, Christians enslaved them. Christians even used Christianity as a basis for the enslavement. Then furthermore, just my own thoughts on this as someone raised in a Christian community, if a black Christian takes the fundamental belief that you have to have Jesus to go to Heaven, and pairs it with the good assumption that Christianity might never have taken hold in Africa without colonization, then, logically does it hold that colonization and possibly even slavery had benefits of bringing Christianity to Africa? Does this benefit of leading these people to Christ outweight the costs, then? This is way, way off topic I know, but this is just something I've always been curious about but I've never been sure how to properly phrase my question. To me there just seems to be a conflict that needs to be resolved (and possibly already has been resolved) between being West or East African and being a fervent follower of Christianity or Islam.
I ask this question to black people all the time. I don't think many of them make that connection, because spirituality/religiosity is a traditional coping mechanism for most black people, helping them deal with poverty/racism/discrimination/etc. Many see Jesus Christ as having delivered them from enslavement, like the Israelites in Egypt. I do feel that much of the rigid homophobia and patriarchy in our community (although much of it is exaggerated by the media) comes from the Christianity that we were indoctrinated in during slavery, and we held onto across generations. None of us were Christian when we were brought here, now we cling to Christianity more than white people do. The reasons you listed above is why I will never become Christian. I'm trying to extricate all of those colonial ideologies from my mind and spirit. Casting aside Christianity is an important aspect of that, in my opinion.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 04:53 PM   #18
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by LBV. View Post
the categories of "gay/straight/bi" are merely social constructions, and any kind of scientific inquiry into "proving" that sexual orientation is biological is just like scientific inquiry devoted to proving "race." Foolhardy, and categorically misguided.

What do you think?


I think that it's great to see this level of insight on TF


Of course, many (maybe most) people have firmly locked on to these social constructions and associations with devoted intensity. In their minds that self-grouping has become almost indistinguishable from who they are. In fact it takes a lot to not do that as almost everything from the official narrative, to entertainment, art, the most popular religions reinforce that as being "the way it is."
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 05:25 PM   #19
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by LBV. View Post
I ask this question to black people all the time. I don't think many of them make that connection, because spirituality/religiosity is a traditional coping mechanism for most black people, helping them deal with poverty/racism/discrimination/etc. Many see Jesus Christ as having delivered them from enslavement, like the Israelites in Egypt. I do feel that much of the rigid homophobia and patriarchy in our community (although much of it is exaggerated by the media) comes from the Christianity that we were indoctrinated in during slavery, and we held onto across generations. None of us were Christian when we were brought here, now we cling to Christianity more than white people do. The reasons you listed above is why I will never become Christian. I'm trying to extricate all of those colonial ideologies from my mind and spirit. Casting aside Christianity is an important aspect of that, in my opinion.
in that vein, will you also consider moving out of the US to africa? or are the material comforts of the western world where your ancestors were brought against their will too tempting to let go?

(not meant to be snarky)
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 05:32 PM   #20
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by wild.river View Post
in that vein, will you also consider moving out of the US to africa? or are the material comforts of the western world where your ancestors were brought against their will too tempting to let go?

(not meant to be snarky)
Yes, I would move to West Africa if given the opportunity. The material comforts of the Western world are not what keep me here, those can be found in West Africa as well. It would be my family and my need to be close to them that would keep me in the US.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #21
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by wild.river View Post
in that vein, will you also consider moving out of the US to africa? or are the material comforts of the western world where your ancestors were brought against their will too tempting to let go?

(not meant to be snarky)
If people are all going to head for wherever there ancestors came from, the USA is going to be almost empty. It may not have been snarky but it is an incredibly simplistic viewpoint. The first major movement of Africans being brought to America was about 350 years ago. To use that as a barometer for one's current choices is IMO inane.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 06:51 PM   #22
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by wild.river View Post
in that vein, will you also consider moving out of the US to africa? or are the material comforts of the western world where your ancestors were brought against their will too tempting to let go?

(not meant to be snarky)
If people are all going to head for wherever there ancestors came from, the USA is going to be almost empty. It may not have been snarky but it is an incredibly simplistic viewpoint. The first major movement of Africans being brought to America was about 350 years ago. To use that as a barometer for one's current choices is IMO inane.

IMO The question is equivalent to asking if someone will consider no longer listening to jazz, blues, rock, R&B, hip-hop, reggae and almost all forms of contemporary music - since without the forced ttransfer of Africans it's likely none of them would exits.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 07:33 PM   #23
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by pov View Post
If people are all going to head for wherever there ancestors came from, the USA is going to be almost empty. It may not have been snarky but it is an incredibly simplistic viewpoint. The first major movement of Africans being brought to America was about 350 years ago. To use that as a barometer for one's current choices is IMO inane.

IMO The question is equivalent to asking if someone will consider no longer listening to jazz, blues, rock, R&B, hip-hop, reggae and almost all forms of contemporary music - since without the forced ttransfer of Africans it's likely none of them would exits.
the simplistic viewpoint would make sense to you if you had read the context: "I'm trying to extricate all of those colonial ideologies from my mind and spirit."
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #24
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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the simplistic viewpoint would make sense to you if you had read the context: "I'm trying to extricate all of those colonial ideologies from my mind and spirit."
Your suggestion would make sense if West Africa were a virgin land free of any colonial heritage. But she is not, and so it does not. You can't escape the after-effects of colonialism wherever you are.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 07:45 PM   #25
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Your suggestion would make sense if West Africa were a virgin land free of any colonial heritage. But she is not, and so it does not. You can't escape the after-effects of colonialism wherever you are.
no, but there are degrees of colonial heritage. the West and Africa are no where near equivalent from the perspective of someone who descended from American slaves.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 10:07 PM   #26
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

We'll probably never know, given the social complexity of humans. The fact is that our sexual desires and drives predate any culture, and our very idea of heterosexual marriage predates our written history and has varied widely over the course of our recorded existence.

We don't even fully know how naturally monogomous we are. I know this is one of Focoult's favorite arguments (then again he says the same thing about insanity) but the problem is we just don't know what those first folks stomping around in Africa about 100,000 years ago thought about a whole lot of issues.

Nature or nurture is almost impossible to separate.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 10:27 PM   #27
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by wild.river View Post
the simplistic viewpoint would make sense to you if you had read the context: "I'm trying to extricate all of those colonial ideologies from my mind and spirit."
It did "make sense" but I still hold that it is simplistic. There is so much about the context as in "what exactly is a colonial ideology" To ascertain that one would have to accurately trace the germination of the idea and then search to make sure that there was no corresponding or even relatively similar idea in or around the indigenous population.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 10:43 PM   #28
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

Of course.
Gays are gays because they are a bunch of fucking hipsters wannabee.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #29
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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Originally Posted by miffedmax View Post
We'll probably never know, given the social complexity of humans. The fact is that our sexual desires and drives predate any culture, and our very idea of heterosexual marriage predates our written history and has varied widely over the course of our recorded existence.

We don't even fully know how naturally monogomous we are. I know this is one of Focoult's favorite arguments (then again he says the same thing about insanity) but the problem is we just don't know what those first folks stomping around in Africa about 100,000 years ago thought about a whole lot of issues.

Nature or nurture is almost impossible to separate.
Maybe I'm missing some of your points. There is enough evidence that supports LDV's point. It seems clear that rigid sexual classifications imposed on an entire population are - like race - entirely social constructs.

I agree with your point on monogamy - although there too there is enough data to infer that there is no "we are." The idea that humans are Borg is one of the enduring stumbling-blocks that arises from viewpoints originally instituted to "control the masses"

I didn't read LDV's OP as being about "born gay or not" (i.e. nature/nature) but about the instituting of rigid categories that people shunt themselves into. Without those constructs people would flow freely. Sure Pete may get it on only with other fellows but the whole psychology that has come to be associated with that wouldn't exist. If one day he met Mary and they both felt the urge - it wouldn't be a thing.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 10:55 PM   #30
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Re: Is homosexuality a social construction?

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I didn't read LDV's OP as being about "born gay or not" (i.e. nature/nature) but about the instituting of rigid categories that people shunt themselves into. Without those constructs people would flow freely. Sure Pete may get it on only with other fellows but the whole psychology that has come to be associated with that wouldn't exist. If one day he met Mary and they both felt the urge - it wouldn't be a thing.
You're romanticising "flowing freely" from a biased heterosexist perspective. The truth remains that two men (or women) who were in love were not able to get married, in whichever culture from whichever era of yore, regardless of whether sex between the same sexes was not greatly frowned upon in those cultures or not. That is only a possibility now.

There was a whole different construct back in the day, it was unspoken and unexamined, not nonexistent.

Here's a bit about the ancient Greek culture upheld as a typical example of a supposedly liberal culture that allowed homosexuality:

Quote:
Given the importance in Greek society of cultivating the masculinity of the adult male and the perceived feminizing effect of being the passive partner, relations between adult men of comparable social status were considered highly problematic, and usually associated with social stigma. This stigma, however, was reserved for only the passive partner in the relationship. According to contemporary opinion, Greek males who engaged in passive homosexuality after reaching the age of manhood - at which point they were the expected to take the reverse role in pederastic relationships and become the active and dominant member - thereby were feminized or "made a woman" of themselves. There is ample evidence in the theater of Aristophanes that derides these passive homosexuals and gives a glimpse of the type of biting social opprobrium and shame ("atimia") heaped upon them by their society.
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